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EU-Canada approve trade agreement

Canada and the EU approve Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement; third quarter ag exports improve U.S. economic growth; trade advisory committee members sought; Election Day is upon us.

Canada and the European Union have approved the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement. Under the agreement, Canada will be eligible to export 81,011 tons of pork, 64,950 tons of beef and veal, 3,000 tons of bison and unlimited horse meat and prepared meat products to the EU.

The EU is expected to retain unlimited duty-free access to Canada for pork and will receive unlimited tariff-free access for beef and veal. The agreement will not change the way the EU regulates food safety and continues the ban on hormones and beef. Under the agreement, Canada will recognize the EU’s Geographical Indications for a number of European products. It took seven years to complete the agreement.

Ag exports improve economic growth
An increase in U.S. agricultural exports improved U.S. economic growth in the third quarter this year. The U.S. economy grew by an annualized rate of 2.9% from 1.1% in the first half of the year.

The White House used the report to highlight the importance of TPP by saying, “Real exports grew 10.0% in the third quarter, their fastest quarterly growth since 2013.” The growth in exports was primarily due to an increase in agricultural exports.

Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, says, “In order to continue this momentum, we can and should do more to expand global markets. U.S. farmers are facing unprecedented competition amid a slowing global economy and appreciating dollar. That’s why it is important for Congress to approve the Trans-Pacific Partnership.”

In September the U.S. trade deficit fell to its lowest level since 2015. The trade deficit declined to $36.4 billion. This is approximately 10% lower than the August deficit of $40.5 billion. The annual trade deficit is expected to be below the 2015 level of $500 billion.

USDA seeks nominations for trade advisory committees
The USDA, in cooperation with the U.S. Trade Representative, is seeking nominations for members to serve on its agricultural trade advisory committees – Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee and Agricultural Technical Advisory Committees.

APAC advises USDA and USTR on operating existing U.S. trade agreements, negotiating new agreements and other trade policy issues. ATAC members represent specific commodity sectors and provide technical advice and guidance on trade issues affecting domestic and foreign production. There are six ATACs which focus on animals and animal products; fruits and vegetables; grains, feed oilseeds and planting seeds; processed foods; sweeteners and sweetener products; and tobacco, cotton and peanuts.

Committee members represent a cross-section of U.S. food and agriculture and are knowledgeable on trade issues. Information and application instructions and forms can be found at www.fas.usda.gov/ATACs. Nominations are due no later than 5 p.m. ET on Nov. 18.

Tomorrow is Election Day
What are the polls saying as we head into tomorrow’s election.

President: This is a very tight race with the polls as of last Friday showing Hillary Clinton holding onto a narrow lead. As we learned in 2000 it is the Electoral College that determines who is elected president, not the popular vote. The battleground states that will determine the next president are: Colorado, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Senate: There are eight states that will determine which party controls the Senate. They are Florida, Indiana, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. The Democrats need to gain five seats to take control of the Senate or four seats if Clinton wins. At this time the Democrats are expected to pick up Illinois. Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth (D) is favored over Sen. Mark Kirk (R).

House: The Democrats need to gain 30 seats to take control of the House. They are expected to gain House seats but not enough to take control.

Agriculture: There are a number of initiatives on various state ballots tomorrow that will impact agriculture in those states. They include: Massachusetts — Question 3 would prohibit the use of various agricultural confinement practices which would impact eggs and pork. It also requires products from other states sold in Massachusetts would have to meet the same requirements. Oklahoma — Right to Farm would be added to the state constitution. Indiana — Right to hunt and fish would be added to the state constitution. Kansas — Voters will consider a right to hunt and fish constitutional amendment. Soda tax — A penny per ounce tax on sodas will be decided by voters in Boulder, Colo., and San Francisco, Oakland and Albany, Calif.

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